Chapter 1.
Introduction to Revelation

Revelation 1

The Bible is one book from the first book to the last. Genesis is completed by the book of Revelation. The tangled threads of Bible history flow into Revelation like the Mississippi River flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

Revelation is a book of prophecy! At the opening, there is an announcement and at the close, there is an answer! The Apostle John testifies at the beginning and Jesus testifies at the end. It is a book that is to be understood. Many people have said that they are afraid of Revelation because it speaks of the future. That seems ironic because people crave to know the future. They religiously read horoscopes, seek out Tarot cards or palm readers and call psychic hot lines advertised on television to find out their futures. Let me say, we as Christians are not to be involved in these things at all! As Christians, we are not to fear the book of Revelation, avoid it, ignore it, belittle it or dread it. We are to embrace it, study it, be blessed by it and warn the lost of what it contains. It is the record of the ninth inning or fourth quarter of world history and it shows that Jesus wins and Satan loses. For this reason we should rejoice and its truths should motivate us as believers to live our lives for Christ till He returns or we go home to Heaven's shore through the valley of the shadow of death.

Ray Bakke shares the story about a Glasgow professor named MacDonald who was put into a German prison camp in WW2, along with a chaplain from Scotland. A tall, wire fence separated the Americans from the British in this P.O.W. camp. MacDonald was assigned to the American barracks and the chaplain with the British.

The German guards did not know that the Americans had a homemade radio and were able to get news of the war. MacDonald would take a headline everyday to the fence and share it with the chaplain in the ancient Gaelic language which the Germans could not understand.

One day the news reported that the German high command had surrendered and the war was over. MacDonald took the news to the chaplain and then watched him disappear into the barracks. Moments later, a roar of cheering erupted from the British barracks.

The camp was transformed as despair was replaced with hope and anticipation. Men walked around singing, shouting, laughing, and waving at the German guards. When the guards heard the news three days later, they fled into the dark of the night, abandoning the camp, and leaving the gates unlocked. The next morning, the prisoners walked out of the camp as free men. Yet, they had truly been set free three days earlier by the news that the victory had been won and the war was over.

We too, can now rejoice as Christians, even though the Lord has not returned yet, for we know He is going to return for us and win the victory over Satan. We know the final outcome of the battle and have been set free from the bondage of sin through the blood of Jesus Christ. May we rejoice in His coming and be watching for His return.

This book will be written from a literal, futuristic, premillennial, pretribulational viewpoint. What does that mean? It means that the events that take place in this book will literally happen in the future. They have not occurred yet. The word premillennial means that these events and the Second Coming of Christ will take place before the millennial kingdom. Pretribulational means the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation period. This seems to be the most logical way to understand the book of Revelation.

Why should we study prophecy anyway? What purpose does it serve for us to study about the future? Over the last few years, there has been an attitude among some pastors to belittle Bible prophecy, claiming it is irrelevant for us today. Instead, we should focus on the lessons of history, not the future. I believe history is very important and teaches many valuable lessons for us today, but I do not agree with the notion that Bible prophecy is not important to us and not worth the time to study it. The Bible does not agree with that philosophy either. The study of Bible prophecy has a great impact upon the Church when it is properly studied and its truths are applied. The Bible gives a number of reasons we should study it.

The Study of Bible Prophecy.....

1. Is PART of the Scriptures. For this reason it should be studied. In fact, over 1/4 of the Bible is prophecy. In the Old Testament, there are 23,210 verses and 6,641 are prophetic for a total of 28 1/2%. In the New Testament, there are 7,914 verses and 1,711 are prophetic for a total of 21 1/2%. The Bible is 27% prophecy. I would say that makes the study of Bible prophecy important. Peter states that God's prophecies are sure, and true.

2 Peter 1:19-21—....We have also a more sure word of prophecy: whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: [20] Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. [21] For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

2. PROVES the Accuracy of the Bible.

Isaiah 42:9—Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

When God says He will do something and then it is fulfilled, it confirms the fact that His Word is true.

Isaiah 46:8-11... Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. [9] Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, [10] Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not vet done, saving. My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: [11] Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from afar country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass: I have purposed it. I will also do it.

There are still prophecies in the Old Testament that have not yet been fulfilled, but will be one day. Some may be fulfilled in our life time or we may see the events that lead to their fulfillment.

3. PRESENTS a Proper Perspective of Our Time.

1 Corinthians 7:31—And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

Prophecy helps us to understand the future so we can make the best of our life now.

Ephesians 5:16—Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Prophecy motivates us to use our time wisely.

1 Timothy 4:1—Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Prophecy helps us to understand the last days so we are not taken off guard or overwhelmed by the sinfulness of men and coldness of some professing Christians.

1 John 2:18—Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

4. PROVIDES Encouragement in Times of Sorrow.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18—But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. [14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. [15] For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. [16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. [18] Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

5. PROVES God is in Control of the Affairs of Men.

Philippians 1:6—Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

God will finish what He has started in our lives and He will finish His plan for mankind.

6. PRODUCES Spiritual Maturity, Stability, & Purity.

During the Gulf War in 1991, people were afraid that we were on the brink of Armageddon and the end of the world. Those who knew what the Bible says about the "End Times" knew better. The Scriptures are very clear about what God has laid out for mankind and the world. Knowing Bible prophecy helps one not to be afraid of serious world events. Instead, we can look at them in light of Scripture and realize that God is setting the stage for His coming. Events that look frightening to the lost can actually be encouraging and exciting to the Christian because he knows that the Lord is getting ready to return. These frightening events are all pieces of God's puzzle and plan for the world. Knowing God's plan gives security and confidence in troublesome times. It gives hope when hopelessness may abound.

1 Corinthians 15:52, 57, 58—In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Because of the Rapture and our victory in Christ, we therefore should be stable and mature in Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:2—That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Philippians 4:5—Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

1 Thessalonians 3:13—To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

Titus 2:12, 13—Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

1 John 3:3—And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

7. PROGRESSES Evangelism and Is a Tool for Evangelism.

Because the Lord is returning soon, we must do all we can now to reach the lost before He returns. Talking to the unsaved about the return of Christ is a great tool of evangelism.

Hebrews 9:26, 27—For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

8. PROCURES Moral and Social Responsibility.

Romans 13:11-14.... And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. [12] The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. [13] Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. [14] But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof

We are to be an example to a lost and dying world in the way we live. Our lifestyle should reflect the Christ that lives within us. It is our responsibility to be godly ambassadors of Jesus Christ.

9. PREPARES the Believer in the Knowledge of Scripture, for Service, and a Seeking Attitude for the Second Coming of Christ.

Knowing God's Word will enable you to be an effective witness for Christ and will help you answer the questions that the lost have about the Lord and about life. God's Word provides solutions to man's problems. Knowing those solutions will help you reach others for the Lord.

2 Timothy 2:15—Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Peter 3:16—As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

1 Peter 3:15—But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

1 Thessalonians 5:4-6—.... But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. [5] Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. [6] Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

10. PROVOKES a Genuine Love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 4:8—Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

1 Peter 1:8—Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

11. PRODUCES Praise for the Lord Jesus Christ.

After describing how God would restore the nation of Israel, Paul launched into a song of praise for the Lord.

Romans 11:33—O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

The study of prophecy is important. Therefore, the study of the book of Revelation is important too. Let's dig in and get a wonderful blessing!

I. The Presentation of the Book—1:1

Notice it says "Revelation," not Revelations. The Greek word for Revelation is Apokalupsis which conveys the idea of "an appearing; unveiling, coming; to show or expose to view." This book is about the appearing and second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not intended that this book be mysterious or confusing, but illuminating and revealing. God wants us to understand what this book is about and what we have to look forward to and what is the destiny of unsaved men and women. He wants them to know so they will turn to Christ and trust Him as Savior. It is an open book in which God reveals His plans and purposes to His church. When Daniel finished writing his prophecy, he was instructed to "shut up the words, and seal the book" (Daniel 12:4); but John has been given totally opposite directions from the Lord....

"Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book." (Revelation 22:10).

The source of the book is not John. The message came from God, to Christ, to the angel, to John, and then to the Church. It is not the Revelation of John, it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

II. The Purpose of the Book—1:1b

God wanted to show us the things which must shortly come to pass. Who are His servants? They are His bondslaves who willingly serve the Lord no matter what the circumstances may be. Eight times the phrase, "He that hath an ear, let him hear" is used. Those who willingly submit to the will of God will have little difficulty understanding most of this book.

The events are going to "shortly come to pass." This word "shortly" is the Greek word en tachei which forms our English word "tachometer." It is an instrument used to measure speed or velocity. The word "shortly" indicates swiftness. The events in this book will come to pass swiftly when they begin to unfold. The Lord also wants us to realize that His return is soon, it is imminent. We need to also realize that God does not measure time the same way we do.

2 Peter 3:8—But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

When we compare God's scale of time with ours based on this information, we will find that:

(24 hrs. with God times 365 days, then divide by 365,000 days) Note: 1000 years times 365 days = 365,000 days.

God wants us to realize that Jesus Christ is coming very soon. For this reason so much space is spent on the Second Coming of Christ. Of the 260 chapters in the New Testament, there are 318 references to the Second Coming. This is one out of every thirty verses. Twenty-three of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament refer to this event. The four missing books include three books which are single chapter books written to an individual person about a particular subject. The fourth book is Galatians which implies the return of the Lord. For every prophecy on the first coming of Christ, there are eight prophecies on Christ's second coming. Today we are one day closer to the Rapture. Amen! Even so, come Lord Jesus!

III. The Penman of the Book—1:1c, 2

John was the son of Zebedee, the brother of James, and the disciple whom Jesus loved. He was sent into exile on the island of Patmos which was 25 miles off the coast of Asia Minor. This was a small penal island about six by ten miles. It was here that God took John's burden and bondage and turned it into a blessing. Roman chains bound his body, but not his soul. John refused to compromise his faithful preaching concerning Jesus Christ. As God turned his bondage into blessing, He can do the same for you and me. Don't be ashamed to stand up and speak up for Jesus Christ. We will deal more with his persecution in a moment.

IV. The Promise in the Book—1:3

No book in the Bible has an introduction and a conclusion quite like this one. It starts with a promised blessing and closes with a promised blessing too (22:7). The word "blessed" appears seven times in Revelation. This same word is used in the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. The seven Beatitudes of Revelation are:

1. A Blessed Challenge....

Rev. 1:3—Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

2. A Blessed Comfort....

Rev. 14:13—And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.

3. A Blessed Cautiousness....

Rev. 16:15—Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

One day, while visiting a home for mentally handicapped children, Joseph Stowell, the president of Moody Bible Institute, noticed tiny hand prints of children covering the window. Stowell mentioned these prints to his friend. His friend replied, "The children here love Jesus and they are so eager for Him to return that they lean against the windows as they look up in the sky for Him." We are to have that same attitude too.

4. A Blessed Calling....

Rev. 19:9—And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

5. A Blessed Conquest.....

Rev. 20:6—Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

6. A Blessed Cherishing.....

Rev. 22:7—Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

7. A Blessed Conformity....

Rev. 22:14—Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

There are three requisites necessary to receiving the promised blessing.

1. Blessed is he that readeth. Read the Word of God!

2. Hears the word of this prophecy. Listen to what God says.

3. Keeps those things written therein. Our conduct is to be governed by the truths of this book and the rest of the Word of God. It is not to be a deep, mysterious, confusing book, but instead, understood and applied.

Our Lord reminds us that the time of His coming is at hand. It is coming soon. Paul said in

Romans 13:12—... The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

V. The Prophecy in the Book—1:3

Revelation is a book of prophecy. Seven times the noun "prophecy" appears. Seven times it states the Lord will come. This book is about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This truth was not new to John. John wrote about the Second Coming as a challenge to us to:

1. Comfort-

John 14:1-3—.... Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. [2] In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. [3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

2. Consecration-

John 21:21-23—... Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? [22] Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. [23] Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

3. Cleanliness-

1 John 2:28—And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

1 John 3:2, 3—Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Mexican jails are not known for their tidiness or orderliness. Shortly after taking office, Luis Echeverria, the President of Mexico, decided to do something about this problem. Without giving any advance notice, he chose to visit the jails at midnight. He found guards away from their posts, prisoners not taken care of, and other discrepancies between the expectations and the reality. He proceeded to fire people and clean up the system. We do not know when the Lord is going to return. May He find us faithful in our service to Him and living a godly life. Is there anything in your life now that would create shame for you if He returned today?

VI. The Partakers in the Book—1:4, 11

Grace and peace come from the Lord Jesus Christ, but what are the seven spirits before the throne? The book of Isaiah seems to have the answer.

Isaiah 11:2—And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;

The Spirit of God is sevenfold in His character and imputation of spiritual attributes in our lives.

  1. The spirit of the Lord..... the nature of Jesus Christ.
  2. The spirit of wisdom.... the ability God gives us to make the right decisions.
  3. The spirit of understanding... the ability to understand the difficult.
  4. The spirit of counsel.... the ability to give good and wise advice.
  5. The spirit of might.... the power to do God's will.
  6. The spirit of knowledge.... the ability to know beyond human comprehension.
  7. The spirit of the fear of the Lord..... the ability to respect and reverence the Lord and His will for our life.

We have also been made kings and priests unto the Lord. As kings and priests, we have authority in our message and the responsibility of being the right example to others. Christians are to be leaders in the world, not followers of the unsaved in our lifestyles. We should be setting the standard in society by living a godly life.

1 Peter 2:5—Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Revelation 20:6—Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

2 Timothy 2:12—If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

We will reign with Christ one day.

John proceeds to list seven churches which will receive this letter. They are listed in a clockwise order, beginning at Ephesus on the coast, then northward to Smyrna and Pergamum, east to Thyatira, and southeast to Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. We will find that the same problems found in these churches can be found today in our churches. It is addressed to seven churches in Asia but their message is for us also. These churches were located in what is known today as the nation of Turkey. Notice again that the number seven is used. It is the number of completion or perfection. God completes His work in cycles of seven.

After naming the seven churches, John saw seven golden candlesticks (vs. 12). The candlesticks were lamps, lampstands, or menorahs which symbolized the seven churches. The responsibility of every church and Christian is to be a light bearer. We are the light of the world.

Ephesians 5:8—For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Philippians 2:15—That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

VII. The Person in the Book—1:5, 8, 13-18

The Lord Jesus Christ is pictured in several chapters in the Bible.

*None of these chapters are like what we see in Revelation chapter one.

The Lord Jesus is no longer a baby in a manger. He is much more.

A. His DIGNITY 1:5

Jesus is the faithful witness who was faithful unto death. He's the first begotten of the dead. He was the first to be raised from the dead to never die again. {See the special study at the end of this chapter on "The Resurrection" @ page 25.} He is the prince of the kings of the earth.

  1. He is King of Heaven- Daniel 4:37
  2. He is King of the Jews- Matthew 2:2
  3. He is King of Israel- John 1:49
  4. He is King of the Ages- 1 Timothy 1:17
  5. He is King of Glory- Psalm 24:7
  6. He is King of Kings- Revelation 19:6

Each one of these titles describe the three-fold office of the Lord.

Is He the King of Your Life? He loves us and has washed away our sins by His blood. Christ continues to give proof of His love in that He continues to save those who come to Him for salvation.

Revelation 1:5 had a big impact on the life of Missionary James Geddie. In. 1848, he left for the South Seas toward the New Hebrides islands. As his ship glided across the ocean waves, he meditated on

Revelation 1:5—... "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."

He wrote in his journal these words, "My best enjoyments in time, and my prospects beyond the grave, center in the cross, which is the emblem of His redeeming love."

James settled on the island of Aneityum which was infested with cannibals that considered human flesh very tasty. Parents would routinely kill and eat their own children. The island was under Satanic power as violence, theft, murder, and warfare were very commonplace. Geddie wrote, "If ever we win these benighted islanders, we must draw them with cords of love. I know of no power that is adequate except the power of the living Christ who loved us and washed us from our sins by His own blood."

James frequently preached from Revelation 1:5—. The love of Christ was his main weapon in combating the evil of this island and the focus of his attention. His journal on February 9, 1849, states: "In the darkness, degradation, and misery that surrounds me, I look forward in faith to the time when some of these poor islanders will unite in the triumphant song of ransomed souls, 'Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood'." James lived to see this happen.

Geddie died just before Christmas, 1872. In his island church, a tablet was installed which read: "In memory of John Geddie.... Missionary from Nova Scotia to Aneityum for twenty-four years. When he landed in 1848, there were no Christians here, and when he left in 1872, there were no heathen."

B. His DEITY 1:8, 11

His is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Alpha (α) is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega (Ω) is the last letter. The word "alphabet" comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet... alpha, beta. From the alphabet, you form words and Jesus is the Word of God. He is the only alphabet you can use to communicate with God and reach God. There is no other way. The only language God understands and accepts is the language where His Son is acknowledged as the Alpha and Omega and all letters in between. As Alpha and Omega Christ is saying, "I am the first and the last, the beginning and the ending." It is interesting that this title is put at the very beginning and end of Revelation. Notice what is recorded in Isaiah.

Isaiah 44:6—Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

Christ is the beginning and the ending. He is the final goal or destination in which all life is moving either to be saved by Him, judged by Him, or ruled by Him. Paul referred to the Lord as the mark he was pressing for. We do know that what the Lord has begun, He will finish.

Philippians 1:6—Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

The world began with the Lord and will end with Him (Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21). What was started in Genesis ends in Revelation.

3:17- Ground Cursed22:3- No more curse
3:17- Daily Sorrow21:4- No more sorrow
3:18- Thorns and thistles21:4- No more pain
3:19- Death returns us to dust21:4- No more death
3:15- Satan opposing20:10- Satan banished
3:24- Man kept from the tree of life22:14- He's given access to the tree
3:23- Banished from the Garden22:14- Free entry to God's city
1:4- Division of light and darkness21:25- No more night
1:10- Division of land and sea21:1- No more sea
1:16-Sun and moon created21:23- No need of sun and moon
2:8, 9- Man in a prepared garden21:2- Man in a prepared city
2:12- Gold in the land21:21- Gold in the city
3:15- Redeemer is promised5:9, 10- Redemption is accomplished.

Christ commenced and will conclude all time periods. He conceived the duration of the ages and will crown and consummate the ages to come. Christ is the Alpha and Omega. Is He the Alpha of your life? Trust Him today and serve Him for eternity.

Christ is also the Almighty. This name of God appears at least 48 times in the Old Testament. It is applied to Jesus here. It is the Hebrew word "Shaddai" meaning "The Sufficient One or the One who Satisfies." Shaddai is derived from a Hebrew word shadad which means "to be burly, powerful or ravage." Shadad is like the mauling action of a wolf (Jeremiah 5:6). Some scholars feel it is derived from the word shad referring to the breast of a nursing mother. The picture is that the Lord is our satisfier and that He is all we need. He is our encourager and giver of strength. He is the all- sufficient, powerful one. This is the relationship that every believer can have with the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient to meet every need you and I have if we will let Him meet our need. He is called the Almighty which is the Greek word pantokrator meaning "the One of all power." It is derived from two words, pas meaning "all" and krateo meaning "to hold or have strength." This word is used only of God and is translated "omnipotent" in Revelation 19:6. Our Lord has all strength and power. Christ has the power to meet our every need and do anything He wants to do. He will exercise enormous power when He returns to this Earth as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

Matthew 26:64—Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

We have seen His dignity and deity, now we will look at His description.

C. His DESCRIPTION 1:13-16

"In the midst of the seven candlesticks"- The candlesticks are the churches (vs. 20). Christ is to be at the center of the Church. Our churches, our lives, are to revolve around Him. He is found constantly in the center, in the middle position, because He is the Mediator between God and men.

1 Timothy 2:5—For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Matthew 18:20—For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

"One clothed like the son of man"- He is not a grotesque creature. The title "Son of Man" appears eighty times in the four Gospels and the book of Acts in reference to Christ as King of the coming millennial kingdom.

"Clothed with garments down to the feet"- This was the typical clothing of the High Priests as they ministered in the holy place in the Temple. Jesus is our High Priest. The writer of Hebrews said in Hebrews 4:14, "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us holdfast our profession."

"Girded about the breast with a golden girdle"- This refers to a symbol of strength and authority in the ancient world. The average man wore a short tunic and loose fitting clothes. Only authorities wore girdles. The High Priest also wore such a sash (Leviticus 16:4). Christ has authority for He is God. Who could have more authority than that?

"Head and hair white like wool, as white as snow"- This speaks of the ancientness and righteousness of God. Daniel called the Lord "the Ancient of Days."

"Eyes like flames of fire"- In the Greek language this reads: "Eyes that shot fire." It indicates He was angry at something. Chapters two and three reveal His anger with the sin and apostasy of the churches. The Lord is not pleased when we are not what we ought to be. Is the Lord Jesus Christ pleased with you?

"Feet like bronze"- Bronze speaks of judgment. The brazen altar of the tabernacle is where sin was judged. The Lord is not only the Judge of the Church, He is the Judge of the entire world. Those who mock Him will be judged by Him one day.

John 5:22—For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

Romans 2:16—In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

"Voice like the sound of many waters"- The sound of Niagra Falls is a deafening roar. The voice of the Lord will be a roar of judgment. Men will not listen to His voice today, but one day they will hear Him whether they like it or not.

"Had seven stars in His right hand"- These stars are angels or messengers.

"Out of the mouth proceedeth a sharp two-edged sword"- The Word of God is described as a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). There is no defense against the Word of God. Excuses will mean nothing with the Lord.

"Countenance as the Sun"- John's response to the glory of Christ was to fall down as a dead man.

"I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." Men for centuries have sought the key to life and death, but Christ is the one who has the key. Jesus has the key to hell (Hades). Hades is the New Testament equivalent of the Hebrew sheol. Both of these words describe the abode of departed spirits. When Jesus died on the cross, His body went to this place called hades.

Ephesians 4:9—(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?)

Acts 2:31—He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

There were two areas in Hades. One area was a place of torment and fire. This is where the wicked and unbelievers went after death. The rich man died and went to this area according to Luke 16. The other area was called Abraham's bosom or Paradise, and was separated by a great divide or gulf. This is where the righteous dead were comforted. This is where Jesus went, not to the area of fire. Notice these verses. Hades: the area of Torment...

Luke 16:23-26—And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. [24] And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. [25] But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. [26] And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Hades: the area of Paradise.....

Luke 23:43—And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

All of the righteous dead from the time of creation were in this place awaiting the day of their redemption. When Jesus came to Paradise after His crucifixion, He proclaimed His victory that the price for sin had been paid. When Christ arose, He delivered these souls from Paradise and took them to Heaven with Him. For this reason, for the Christian, to be absent from the body now, is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Hebrews 2:14, 15—Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Ephesians 4:8-10—Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. [9] (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? [10] He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

When a person has keys, it indicates that person is either owner of the property or has authority on that property. Christ is the owner of the universe and has authority in all things, even over Hell.

VIII. The Perception of Christ—1:7

Clouds in the Bible are frequently symbolic of the presence of God. Israel was led by God's cloud through the wilderness. When the Lord returns for us at the Rapture, we will meet Him in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4). When He returns to this earth, every eye will see Him. The world will wail because of Him. The word "wail" is "kopto" which means "to cut." This word became linked with the pagan practice of cutting one's self when in extreme grief or despair. The prophets of Baal did this in 1 Kings 18:28. The world will be in despair when Christ returns to judge the lost for their sins.

IX. The Prison & Persecution of John—1:9, 10

After the death of Emperor Titus, his brother Domitian became the ruler of the Roman Empire. This guy was a very wicked and immoral man having countless sexual escapades with women and men. He was also sadistic and cruel. His favorite past-time at the beginning of his reign was to spend hours alone catching flies and stabbing them with a needle-sharp pen. He also ordered gladiator shows by torch-light in which women as well as men would have to participate and fight to the death. Domitian was a tyrant who led the first organized, empire-wide persecution against Christians that was issued by a governmental decree from Rome. For fifteen years he persecuted the church.

Domitian called himself "god" and demanded that images of him be erected in temples everywhere in the empire and that he be worshiped. Christians refused to do this and were persecuted or banished to the island of Patmos to work under brutal conditions in the mines on this island. After Jerusalem was destroyed by fire in 70 A.D., the majority of active churches were in Asia or Turkey. Persecution was intense in this region. Writers of the early church record that John was banished to Patmos from 95 to 96 A.D. Domitian exiled his own niece, Flavia Domitilla, to one of these penal islands. Life was rough too, with scourging, grueling labor, little food and clothing, unsanitary and unsuitable living quarters. These conditions would have been brutal on John who was in his 90's. He would not renounce the Lord or His Word and was treated as a criminal for his refusal.

In the fall of 96 A.D., history records that those who were banished by Domitian were released from imprisonment following Emperor Domitian's assassination. He was stabbed eight times and after his death the people responded with a "We don't care if he is dead!" attitude. The Roman senate rejoiced in his death and had his statues destroyed. Domitian was dead, but he did a lot of damage to the lives of many Christians.

Christians were hated and persecuted in the Roman Empire for several reasons.

  1. The truth of the Gospel was despised.
  2. They were considered disloyal to Rome and Caesar because they would not worship him. Because their meetings were held at night, Roman officials accused them of trying to conspire against the government.
  3. Christians were accused of being atheists because they would not worship the gods of Rome and worshiped an invisible God, not an idol.
  4. Most Christians were poor and rejected by the wealthy class of Rome. They did not like the teaching that Christians are on the same level, whether you are a master or a slave.
  5. Christians were also rejected because they did not participate in heathen, perverted activities. They were considered as snobby and antisocial.
  6. Christians were considered a threat by those who profited from the worship of idols. When people were saved, they stopped buying idols.
  7. Because Christians rejected the worship of Roman gods, if there were any natural disasters, the Romans considered it as a judgment of the gods and blamed the Christians for the catastrophes.

John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos, yet it was on that island that he received a tremendous blessing from the Lord. God works this way many times. We find great blessings in some of the most unexpected places.

A. Paul's thorn in the flesh was a channel for more grace from God.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9—....And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

B. Job's tribulations in the end brought double blessings in his life.

Job 42:10-13—....And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. [11] Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. [12] So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. [13] He had also seven sons and three daughters.

C. Joseph's trauma in the pit and prison were the avenues to the palace and power in Egypt.

Genesis 45:4-8—....[5] Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. [6] For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. [7] And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. [8] So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

D. Paul's turmoil in the dungeon of Philippi led to the opportunity to praise the Lord and to the salvation of the jailer and his family.

Acts 16:25-34—....And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. [26] And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. [27] And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. [28] But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. [29] Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, [30] And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? [31] And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. [32] And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. [33] And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. [34] And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

E. The taunt of Goliath against David gave David the chance to confront and conquer him.

1 Samuel 17:42-46—....And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. [43] And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. [44] And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. [45] Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. [46] This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

X. The Plan of the Book—1:19, 20

This is the key to the entire book. It is an outline of Revelation.

  1. The Past- The Things Thou Hast Seen.... Chapter 1
  2. The Present- The Things Which Are.....Chapters 2 & 3
  3. The Future- The Things Which Shall Be Hereafter.... Chapters 4-22

The seven stars are angels. There are two trains of thoughts on this point. Some believe they refer to the "pastors" of the churches. John addressed a man as an angel in

Revelation 19:10—.. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Others feel it refers to an angel that is assigned to each church and that is very possible too.

Angels are assigned to nations...

Daniel 10:13—But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. (vs. 20, 21) Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.

Angels minister to us....

Hebrews 1:14—Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Christians have angels assigned to them....

Matthew 18:10—Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Angels are present in church services and are concerned about the progress of the church....

Hebrews 13:2—Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

1 Peter 1:12—Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Men and women today scoff at the existence of angels and God. They scoff at the return of Jesus Christ. We were warned that they would do this.

2 Peter 3:3, 4—Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Men have consistently proven their stupidity, ignorance, and foolishness by their predictions and assumptions.

The editor in charge of business books for Prentice-Hall stated in 1957, "I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year."

2. The president of Digital Equipment Corp. said in 1977, "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."

3. Western Union said in 1876, "This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.

The device is inherently of no value to us."

4. David Sarnoff urged his associates to invest in the radio in the 1920's. Here is their response: "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"

5. H.M. Warner of Warner Brothers said in 1927, "Who wants to hear actors talk?"

6. "A cookie store is a bad idea. America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make." This was the response to Debbie Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields Cookies.

7. "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." Decca Recording Company rejecting the Beatles in 1962.

8. Lord Kelvin, president of the Royal Society said in 1895, "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible."

9. "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy!" This was said by drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

10. Charles Duell, Commissioner of U.S. Office of Patents said in 1899, "Everything that can be invented has been invented."

The list goes on and on and only goes to show that men are not as smart as they think they are. Their assumptions end up showing how foolish they are. The man that scoffs at the return of Christ is the biggest fool of all.

Special Study.
A Study on the Resurrection

Revelation 1:5

Do you know what Thanatology is? It is the study of death. There is a growing fascination with the topic of death. What was taboo to talk about is openly discussed and researched. The first time a course was offered at Harvard, a class meant for only twenty students was packed with 200. Topics like grief, immortality, suicide, and euthanasia are extremely popular on high school and college campuses. There is a great interest in after-life phenomena. This is where the Bible offers truth and reality about this topic. The Bible offers comfort to those who are saved and horror to those who are lost.

Death will come to you and me if Jesus tarries.

Psalm 89:48—What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.

Psalm 90:10—The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Romans 5:12—Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Hebrews 9:27—And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

From Genesis to Revelation, the death knell sounds. You have an appointment with death. The question is, "What happens after you die?" The Bible speaks of life after death. The doctrine of the Resurrection is the foundation of the Christian faith. It is mentioned 104 times in the New Testament. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence of Christianity. It is our Rock of Gibraltar and the Waterloo of Infidelity, Liberalism, and Atheism. The sign of Christianity is not the Cross, but the empty tomb. Christians have the only living originator of faith. Buddha is dead; Brahma (Hindu) is dead; Mohammed (Islam) is dead; Marx (Communism) is dead. They are all DEAD! We serve a living Savior!

The whole fabric of Christianity rests upon Christ's resurrection.

It is the warrant to faith....

Romans 10:9, 10—That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved